The Corner

Unbalanced Xerox

Xerox recently lost an employment discrimination case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Frank v. Xerox Corp.). At issue was the company’s “Balanced Workforce Initiative,” begun “in the 1990’s for the stated purpose of insuring that all racial and gender groups were proportionately represented at all levels of the company.” The Houston office detected a racial imbalance, and so its general manager took steps “to remedy the disproportionate racial representation” there, “set[ting] specific racial goals for each job and grade level ….” The Fifth Circuit found that “the existence of the [Balanced Workforce Initiative] is sufficient to constitute direct evidence of a form or practice of discrimination.” After all, “Xerox candidly identified explicit racial goals for each job and grade level,” and the evidence “indicate[d] that managers were evaluated on how well they complied with” the initiative’s objectives.

An appalling company policy and an excellent judicial decision. And here’s the kicker: The plaintiffs were African Americans and the company had concluded that “blacks were over-represented and whites were under-represented”! Critics of affirmative action and diversity initiatives have always pointed out that one problem even the left should have with racial balancing is that you never know which groups will find themselves being discriminated against and, what do you know, they (we) were right.

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